CINCINNATI (TDB) -- When former Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls switched from Democrat to a third-party last week to take a City Council seat, there was quiet and immediate speculation in political circles she was laying groundwork for a return to her old post. Now she admits she has registered "quallsformayor.com," but says it doesn't mean she's thinking about challenging Democratic incumbent Mark Mallory.
In other words, Qualls wants people to believe there is nothing to it. Others are thinking: Yeah, right Roxanne.
Five years ago, Qualls was saying she was totally through with elective politics and wouldn't be back. Cincinnati CityBeat writer Doug Trapp interviewed her in January 2005 and reported she was done with campaigning, at least for herself. Qualls said:
"I do not have any intention of returning to Cincinnati to run for office."
Trapp said she made her feelings abundantly clear. Three possibilities come to mind about her comments from that time: She now needs a job; she changed her mind; or she was stretching the truth when she spoke to CityBeat. Today, she has a new patch of real estate staked out on the Internet, but is dismissing the significance of the newly created domain that smells like a campaign for mayor in two years.
Three possiblities come to mind: She wants the mayor's job; she is going to change her story; and she is stretching the truth by denying any interest.
Cincinnati Post contributor Joe Wessels found the new Website , then talked to Xavier University prof Gene Beaupre, an expert on local politics and elections and somewhat of a Democratic insider himself. Beaupre said he thinks Qualls could be considering a run for mayor -- something that her move seems to have telegraphed.
"She has to be thinking of two years from now," Beaupre said. He added that Mallory's critics in the party have been chafing for months because they wanted a stronger figure. Mallory hasn't exactly been a puppet to the pro-business corporate crowd.
"It's very possible that if you are a Democrat on Council, that would would have tought he would have kept a tighter coalition on Council and made your life easier."
Qualls was term-limited out of the council and mayor's office in 1999. She has been appointed to fill a Charter Committee seat that opens up Sept. 3 when an incumbent resigns and leaves office earlier. She is campaigning for reelection to the seat. She has been a Democrat, and says she remains a Dem at all levels except the City Council, where the Charter Party has been a player in city affairs since the 1920s. The third party exists only in Cincinnati.